WASHINGTON, DC – The adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” means a motion picture is a treasury of inspiration especially with freedom as its main character. The National Hellenic Society (NHS) is now the owner of the epic film, Cliffs of Freedom, a feature film inspired by historical events based on a story written by Marianne Metropoulos, set during the dawning days of the Greek War of Independence. “As a proud Greek American,” Marianne Metropoulos explains, “I wanted to produce a feature film depicting Greece’s fight for freedom after 400 years of occupation by the Ottoman Turks. This pivotal period in Greece’s history is less known to many, and it tells of the Greek’s commitment and perseverance to achieve freedom or choose death rather than to live enslaved.”
The plot revolves around the love between a Greek village girl and a handsome Ottoman colonel whose allegiance is to Greece’s sworn enemy, the Ottoman Empire. That love story is set within the backdrop of Greece’s courageous fight for freedom, a fight won after four centuries of oppression and subjugation by Ottoman occupiers. Metropoulos said, “The two most important elements of my story are the love and loyalty given to family; to honor their memory even at the cost of one’s own future happiness, and to realize and accept that even historic enemies can bridge religious, cultural and language differences which separate and drive hatred and war.”
Chair of NHS, Drake Behrakis describes the NHS’ opportune stewardship, “The timing to share this epic film coincides with the bicentennial celebration of the Greek War of Independence of 2021. Two centuries have passed, yet only half the time Greece was under the tyranny of Ottoman occupation. Cliffs of Freedom reminds us of our forebears sacrifices, resiliency and serves as a reminder to never lose hope even in the direst of circumstances. NHS is proud to celebrate this story of freedom mirroring our own American story.”
NHS co-founder, George Marcus reflects on the film’s message, “The values, faith and ideas kindled Hellenism’s flame through the darkest hours—this film is a celebration of freedom’s light which the NHS is proud to share with future generations.”
The film’s director, Van Ling, said, “The film is about freedom, the freedom to live as a society, the freedom to love whom you want to love, the freedom to believe what is in your heart, the freedom to choose your own destiny; it’s a struggle that is universal.”
Greek-American actor Billy Zane said that “it was a story and a period of our history that I thought was long overdue.”
Greek-Australian actor Costas Mandylor said, “This movie will revive the things you heard as a kid, this will make you look at the war your grandfather and great-grandfather fought in and make your reach for history books to learn more, I’m proud to be in the movie, I’m proud to be Greek.”
Cliffs of Freedom stars Tania Raymonde, Jan Uddin, Raza Jaffrey, Tony Award-winner Patti LuPone and Academy Award-winner Christopher Plummer, and features Billy Zane, Costas Mandylor, Dennis Boutsikaris, and Simon Kassianides. The film is Directed by Van Ling and Produced by Marianne Metropoulos and Casey Cannon for Aegean Entertainment, with a screenplay written by Van Ling, Marianne Metropoulos and Kevin Bernhardt. The composer of the film’s incredible soundtrack is George Kallis.
NHS Program Director, Fanis Economidis noted the next steps for the film, “The NHS is exploring options to share this film with mainstream audiences globally, especially in 2021 which marks an important milestone for Greece. The film’s message of freedom, family, faith, and love resonates with audiences. This is an opportunity to educate the mainstream about this important period in our history when the proverbial underdog rose against the behemoth oppressor and won because of genuine convictions and that yearning for freedom! This epic fight inspired American Phil-Hellenes and other champions of freedom throughout the world, to the point where several even enlisted to join in the actual fight! We are proud of this film and aware of the responsibilities we have as the film’s stewards.”
The film’s Executive Producer, C. Dean Metropoulos’ reflected on the importance of capturing this story and moment of history on the silver screen as “the only time the Greeks were going to have a shot at it, their numbers had been reduced to a point where they were never going to be able to muster enough resources to do battle. We are all very proud of this film, and I’m sure at the end of my life as I look back, I will look upon this a very, very special part of my life and of Marianne’s contribution. In addition, I hope that it gets the world to have a better understanding of Greeks and Greek history.”
The NHS is committed to celebrating this important part of history, in 2021 and beyond. Freedom, faith, family, and love are indeed things worth fighting for, preserving, and inspiring others to treasure and never take for granted. Cliffs of Freedom is a symbol and means to share the Greek spirit for future generations.
National Hellenic Society, www.hellenicsociety.org.